China crime fighter may have tried defecting
Reports circulated widely Wednesday that one of the country's most famous crime fighters had tried to defect to the United States.
In a sign that China's political season is heating up, reports circulated widely Wednesday that one of the country's most famous crime fighters had tried to defect to the United States.
The reports were impossible to confirm, but China's social media were filled with speculation about the fate of Wang Lijun, a onetime rising star in the western megacity of Chongqing, where he is deputy mayor overseeing public security.
Wang shot to national attention as a one-man gangbuster, taking on the city's notorious organized crime syndicates in the city of 29 million. Last year, he successfully tried and had executed the city's most powerful boss and hired local writers to produce an official history of the campaign. He boasted that he would hire a prominent Hong Kong director to make a movie of his exploits, saying it would be modeled on "The Godfather." Wang's reputation propelled the city's Communist Party chief, Bo Xilai, on the short list for the powerful Standing Committee of the Communist Party's Politburo.
The party is due to meet later this year for a once-in-a-decade changing of the top guard. Bo is already on the 25-member Politburo and has made no secret of his ambition to take the next step to the Standing Committee, which currently has nine members.
According to reports on China's microblogs, Wang had sought refuge at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, several hours from Chongqing, on Tuesday night. The police sealed the area around the building, and bloggers posted pictures that appeared to show an unusual security presence in the streets around the building.
A Chinese reporter with the newspaper Southern Metropolis said he had learned from police sources that Wang had tried to enter the consulate but had been arrested and flown to Beijing for questioning.